Call for greater understanding of ‘holistic’ nature of Palliative Care
Issued by All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care
Public urged to find out more about palliative care during awareness week
Greater public understanding of how palliative care addresses all needs of the person – physical, social, emotional and spiritual – has been called for, as Palliative Care Week begins today.
A survey of public understanding of palliative care in Northern Ireland found that the majority of people (52%) identified ‘pain management’ as the most important part of a good experience of palliative care.
The survey also found that 34% of people were not aware that palliative care may be suitable for a number of years and 20% were not aware that the approach supports family, friends and carers during an illness and afterwards.
The results of the survey, commissioned by All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC), were announced today at the start of Palliative Care Week (October 3-8).
AIIHPC, Head of Institute, Karen Charnley said the survey showed the need for greater public understanding of the holistic approach of palliative care and of when it is appropriate.
“We are encouraging a greater understanding of how palliative care encompasses the full human needs of each person – physical, social, emotional and spiritual – to enable the best possible quality of life. This year the focus of our campaign is ‘enabling living’.
“Palliative care puts the person at the centre of every decision, helping them to plan for the future and make choices. It is essential that pain management is available and effective. Palliative care integrates all of the person’s needs - physical, social, emotional and spiritual – into their care. Palliative care may be beneficial for weeks, months and years and responds appropriately to the differing needs of people as these needs change.
“We are urging the public to be informed, to discuss, and to plan for all of the needs which a child, adult or older person has following diagnosis of an illness that will shorten of limit their life.”
The survey also found that more than half of adults surveyed in Northern Ireland (52%) reported that they have a basic or minimal understanding of what palliative care involves. 83% percent of respondents did not believe that there is sufficient public understanding of palliative care.
Health Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “Palliative Care Week is an excellent opportunity to increase awareness and understanding about what palliative care is. The focus this year on ‘Enabling Living’ highlights the positive role that an holistic approach to palliative care plays in supporting people living with progressive, advanced or life-limiting conditions, and those important to them, to have improved quality of life, with care that is planned around them and with them. I very much welcome and commend the work that is being taken forward across the island of Ireland to raise awareness of palliative care.”
Public Health Agency (PHA) Allied Health Professions Consultant and Regional Palliative Care Lead, Corrina Grimes encouraged the public to take the opportunity to find out more and to talk about palliative care with those important to them and also with health professionals.
“The Regional Palliative Care Board – ‘Palliative Care in Partnership’ supports Palliative Care Week with the aim of helping people improve their understanding of what palliative care is and how it enables living and supports quality of life to the end of life.”
Many information events will take place during the week. Details of these as well as videos, leaflets and other information resources are available at www.thepalliativehub.com.
Ronan Cavanagh, Cavanagh Communications: 00353 (0) 86 317 9731.
The research was carried out as part of an omnibus survey by iReach Insights on a representative sample of 450 adults across Northern Ireland.
All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC)
All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC) is a collaborative of hospices, health and social care organisations and universities on the island of Ireland. AIIHPC advances education, research and practice to improve the palliative care experience of people with life limiting conditions and their families.